SINGAPORE: Votes for the Workers' Party (WP) will count in three ways, the party's secretary-general Pritam Singh said on Thursday (Jul 2) in a televised party political broadcast.
This, in turn, will help Singapore cultivate a healthy democracy with two or three parties who could form a competent and honest Government, said Mr Singh.
Mr Singh's speech - along with those of six other political parties - was broadcast on 19 television and radio channels on Thursday evening.
Since the 1980 General Election, political parties that field at least six candidates under a recognised party symbol are eligible for airtime on free-to-air radio and television.
In all, 191 candidates from 11 political parties and one independent candidate are contesting in the upcoming election.
WP's slogan for this General Election is Make Your Vote Count.
Mr Singh said in his speech that a vote for WP will help it raise issues that the People's Action Party MPs “cannot or will not raise”.
"Since 2015, we have brought up topics in Parliament such as the GST test balloon, the Keppel Offshore and Marine scandal and the constitutional amendment on the Reserved Presidential Election, amongst many others," he said.
"Not a single PAP MP filed a parliamentary question on the corruption disclosures at Keppel Offshore and Marine. Only Workers’ Party MPs did. As for the GST, we pressed the Government to reveal its expenditure and revenue projections before making Singaporeans pay more."
WP had six elected MPs and three Non-Constituency MPs in an 89-seat Parliament. These MPs have highlighted issues on the governance of Singapore and the financial burdens on Singaporeans, said Mr Singh.
"By discussing governance, we help you to keep the Government accountable. By raising bread-and-butter issues, we remind the Government of the things that it may forget or ignore."
Second, a vote for WP will prompt "other sincere and capable people" to come forward in future elections to contest for the party, he said.
"These new and diverse voices need your encouragement. Your vote shows our party stalwarts and volunteers that their efforts at parliamentary research, Meet-the-People sessions, house visits and food distribution are recognised."
Third, having “rational, responsible and respectable” WP MPs in Parliament will help safeguard Singapore, he said.
"Our nation needs protection against complete dominance of Parliament by one party, which could allow a tiny number of people to control everything," he said.
"Our long-term dream is for Singapore to have a healthy democracy where there are two or three parties who could form a competent and honest Government."
He said that the experiences of other countries have shown that that power can fall into the wrong hands.
"The PAP is not immune to such a risk. PAP self-checking can fail," said Mr Singh. "If the wrong people show their true colours only after reaching our highest offices, Singapore is finished. The true safeguards for the people of Singapore are strong political, economic, civic and community institutions that do not favour any party. We need such safeguards."
Mr Singh also told Singaporeans that it is not possible for WP to form the Government, as it is fighting for 21 seats - fewer than a quarter of the 93 seats being contested this election.
"The PAP will form the next Government. That is a certainty. Even in 2011, when Singaporeans were openly unhappy, the PAP won 81 out of 87 seats, even though it won only 60 per cent of the vote," he said.
"If you live where the Workers’ Party is contesting, the PAP does not need your vote to form Government. But we need your votes."
Amid COVID-19 fear, the PAP could end up with 100 per cent of the elected seats in Parliament, he warned.
"Despite what the PAP may say, it does not need all elected seats to have the mandate to govern," Mr Singh said.
He also said that WP is presenting the best candidates it can find, and these candidates could have pursued a much easier path by joining the PAP or by simply staying out of politics.
"But they have taken this far more challenging path because they love our country," he said.
"To sum up, your vote for the Workers’ Party is a vote for a contrast of voices and the questioning of the PAP when needed. It is a vote to encourage new blood to contest in future elections. Finally, a vote for us is a vote for checks and balances to safeguard Singapore for coming generations.
"We must not be an aristocracy where power is held by the few. We must be a democracy where power is in the hands of the many. Make your vote count."